The Reception of Homosexuality in Klaus Mann’s Weimar Era Works

Samuel Clowes Huneke


Although Klaus Mann has long been recognized for his antifascist works written in exile, his earlier Weimar texts have only recently received serious scholarly attention. Noted for the prominent role that homosexuality plays in them, these works have been frequently cited as an example of and influence on Weimar culture, particularly its gay elements. However, no rigorous study has yet attempted to trace the reception of homosexuality in Mann’s literature in the 1920s and early 1930s. This article seeks to determine the reception of these texts in selected contemporary general and gay periodicals in order to demonstrate that the homosexual content of Mann’s literature was widely received in the Weimar Republic. Interwar critics noted his works not only for their depictions of the Nachkriegsgeneration, but also for their vivid and realistic homosexual content. Mann’s works placed same sex desire, depicted in an affirmative light, squarely in front of Weimar readers, asking them to consider the place of gay men and women in their society. (SCH)

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